DUAN, Jianyu, Sharp, sharp, smart no.4
Duan Jianyu’s large-scale paintings present incongruous scenarios that draw on a range of sources from Western art history, classical Chinese painting, and imagery of traditional rural life. She parodies a masculine, colonialist vision through her erotically charged and humorous works. In this work from her ‘Sharp, sharp, smart’ series, Duan portrays two peasant women carrying giant geese with snaking, phallic necks. Using a faux-naive style suggestive of both revolutionary realism and the French Barbizon school, her references to these diverse styles intimate the reception and interpretation of European modernist ideas in China following the Cultural Revolution. It also reflects the imbalances that occur between urban and rural, the traditional and the modern in a society that continues to undergo enormous change.